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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Former additional government advocate Debashis Panda today deposed before Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) here in connection with Artha Tatwa Group (AT) scam.

Panda was questioned for three hours at the CBI office here. After the questioning he said, "I am a honest lawyer." However, he declined to comment on what matters he was questioned by the CBI sleuths.

Panda’s suspected role came to the light after the arrest of former advocate general Ashok Mohanty on September 22, 2014. Panda, who served as additional government advocate from 2009 and 2014, had signed as a witness in sale deed of a house that Mohanty purchased from AT’s chief Pradeep Sethy. The CBI had claimed Mohanty did not pay all the money to Sethy, thereby misappropriating the chit fund firm's funds.

Notably, the Orissa High Court last week asked Panda to appear before the CBI on April 2 and cooperate with the agency in the probe into the scam.

The court, however, granted him interim protection and said the central investigating agency cannot arrest him till the next hearing. Panda is also a lawyer of Enforcement Directorate.

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